E. Jean Carroll: “I’m Here Because Donald Trump Raped Me”
EJ Carroll was the second witness on the stand yesterday in the civil rape and defamation trial she has filed against the former president of the United States, Donald Trump.
EJ Carroll a former columnist for ELLE magazine alleges that Donald J. Trump raped her in a Bergdorff Goodman department store dressing room in 1995 or 1996. She is seeking damages for the battery she suffered and for financial damages caused by the former president’s denials that she insists have cost her employment opportunities and reputation.
After a former manager of the lingerie department at New York 5th Avenue store took the stand to describe with diagrams the layout of the store, the location of her office, how frequently the door to the dressing room area was left unlocked, and likely possibility that because of the lack of employees in that lingerie department, no one would have necessarily herd EJ Carroll’s screams even if she screamed - as she fought off Trump’s attack.
EJ Carroll took the stand and testified until the end of the day, describing how the two met at the front door of the department store, recognized one another, how flirty the conversation was, and how Trump asked for her help in buying a gift for another woman and how they ended up in the lingerie department, and how he asked her to try something on. Then she claims Trump barged his way into her dressing room and shoved her against the wall twice, the second time banging her head against the wall while ripping her bottom leotards off and began to rape her. She described using the spike in her shoe on his foot to escape. Her testimony was emotional, and she was a very compelling witness.
She is scheduled to testify today. EJ Carroll’s lawyers indicated she would answer more of their questions for about 40 minutes when the trial resumes today. Then Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina will then no doubt subject Ms. Carroll to a brutal cross-examination for the rest of the day and through Friday that is intent on discrediting her claims.
Tacopina will have to walk a fine line in attempting to discredit Ms. Carroll and, at the same time, not come off as a belligerent bully attacking seventy-plus-year-old women who claim to have been traumatized by the attack 27 years ago to the point she has been unable to have a romantic relationship ever since.
The jury will no doubt absorb…
- The testimony of two of Ms. Carroll’s friends that she shared the alleged rape contemporaneously with, one that day and another three days later.
- A picture of Donald J. Trump and Ms. Carroll together, which contradicts his insistence that he never met Ms. Carroll in his life, and his video deposition testimony in which he identified Ms. Carroll as his second wife, Marla Maples. That also contradicts that Ms. Carroll wasn’t his type.
Former prosecutor Mitchell Epner writing for The Daily Beast opined that the opening arguments made on Tuesday have probably made up the jury’s mind, saying it was the whole ballgame and that they have probably already made their decision based on the testimony they have already heard. He wrote…
"Based upon more than 25 years of experience as a trial attorney, including service as an Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting sex crimes, I believe that it is highly likely that the jurors have already made up their minds about whether Carroll is telling the truth — before she has completed her direct testimony and long before Donald Trump’s attorneys have the opportunity to cross-examine her," wrote Epner. "This case won’t be a 'he said, she said' case — because Trump is unlikely to testify. In fact, Trump has not attended the trial at all so far. During opening statements, his attorney, Joe Tacopina, appeared to indicate that the trend would continue, saying that Trump’s testimony would only occur in deposition excerpts. Trump’s witness list consists of only two people, Donald Trump and Dr. Edgar Nace, a psychiatric expert witness."
Meanwhile, Epner points out, Carroll has a long string of witnesses to go, including multiple people she told about the assault at the time and two other women who allege they were assaulted by Trump, to corroborate her account of his modus operandi — along with the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump bragged he could and implied he had gotten away with groping women because he's famous.
Epner points out also points out another reason the jury has made up its mind is that its members probably already have accumulated all the facts to make up their minds for a few years, according to Epner. He says Carroll got out in front of everything Trump's attorney was planning to say in his defense — with her own lawyer acknowledging she flirted with him first, that she didn't scream during the attack, that she couldn't recall the exact date, that she is a registered Democrat, and that she wrote a book that described the incident (which sold very poorly). Tacopina tried to bring up some of these points himself in his opening statement, but, Epner wrote, "the jurors may consider these points 'old news'" when Tacopina brings them up again on cross-examination.
"Despite all the hoopla, when the jurors left the courtroom today, each of them likely had a strong belief whether the testimony they just had heard from E. Jean Carroll was the truth or a lie,"
"If they believe she told the truth, I doubt there is anything that will come out in the rest of the trial that will cause them to change their minds. If they believe she lied (in graphic detail), I also doubt anything else at trial will cause them to change their minds. Which is it? Only time will tell."